Chairboy lives in the space you used to. Before you died or ran off, or whatever.
Mother likes Chairboy more than she likes the rest of us. She says we should be more like Chairboy.
And not because he’s made of wood, or wears embroidered pillows. It’s more because Chairboy does exactly as he’s told. Kind of just like you.
None of us misses you. Not really.
Sister 1 complains that it’s hard to squat exactly like Chairboy. That her knees are shot from scrubbing the blood off the floor from when you stabbed Mother that time.
Sister 2 complains that it would hard to be silent like Chairboy. That she lost her voice screaming for the cops when you tried to choke Mother that time.
Brother 1 reminds us of the things Chairboy cannot do. Like drive a car over Mother’s foot the way you did.
Ah, but that’s where you’re wrong, Brother 2 chimes in. Chairboy can do lots of things. And with that, he leads us into the kitchen where dishes are stacked in the drainer and Chairboy is flush up against the sink.
Now let’s not jump to conclusions, I warn. It could be that Mother washed these dishes herself. She could have placed Chairboy in front of the sink.
We look at one another. We know better. Mother never washed a dish in her life. We go back into the living room and sit ourselves on the sofa. We play Rock Paper Scissors to decide which one of us will go back into the kitchen and ask Chairboy when the dishes will be dry enough to use.
Francine Witte is the author of four poetry chapbooks and two flash fiction chapbooks. Her full-length poetry collection, Café Crazy, was published by (Kelsay Books.) Her play, Love is a Bad Neighborhood, was produced in NYC this past December. She is a former English teacher. She lives in NYC.